Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fave Five Christmas Cookies

Rugelach, Cornmeal and Russian Tea Cakes (a/k/a Mexican Wedding Cakes)

I made three of my favorite Christmas cookie doughs yesterday: Rugelach, Russian Tea Cookies, and Cornmeal Cookies. Amaretti and Press/Cutout Cookies will be made and baked off tomorrow, in time for the back to back cookie exchanges I plan to attend on Thursday.

What I appreciate about these recipes is the variety when all are on a plate. Also, there are enough choices about fillings and what nuts to use that make it fun each year. I traditionally use hazelnuts in my Russian Tea Cakes. Hazelnuts are so rich and flavorful but don't make enough appearances outside of the Pinch kitchen. This cookie is a great way to use them. This year, however, I opted for pecans, just to switch things around a bit.

Rugelach is a hard one to pick a filling for because I like them all so much. The recipe I use makes a ton of cookies out of the four logs. I plan to use all four fillings this year - a log of each. I might even try the Barefoot Contessa's recipe. It's not much different from my own - mainly she calls for rolling the cookie dough into a round, filling, cutting the round into wedges and rolling them up like a crescent. My good friend Jessica makes these and they're way prettier than my own log style ones, if only a bit more labor intensive.

The Amaretti and Cornmeal Cookie recipes are courtesy of my sister. They are both such perfect additions to the cookie plate and original ones, too. I made press cookies because they're so kid friendly (my daughters decorate sheet pan after sheet pan of them with their friends each year before Christmas), but my tastes are more for the less sweet Amaretti and the enticing piƱoli-topped Cornmeal Cookie.

What are you baking this year?

1 comment:

Beth said...

To my holiday cookie plate (which always includes gingerbread men, sugar cookies (the cut-out kind, since I long ago gave up trying to master the cookie press), amaretti and dried-cherry-studded meringues), I may this year add poppy seed cookies. The Penzey's Christmas catalog has a recipe on page 23 that looks lovely to me. They're a butter cookie, but I love how 3 of my 4 standbys have little or no butter in them yet still are so festive.